Mooncake is a Chinese confection that is traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, although they can be eaten at other times of the year as well. Traditional mooncakes are typically baked and consists of a thin tender skin enveloping a sweet and slightly oily filling, like lotus seed paste, bean paste, jujube pasteangiesrecipes, sesame paste, and many other kinds.
Besides its significance in Chinese history, mooncakes play an important role in August Moon gatherings and gift giving. These palm-sized round cakes symbolize family unity and perfection. Some mooncakes have a golden yellow egg yoke in the center which looks like a bright moon. They usually come in a box of four and are packaged in tin boxes with traditional Chinese motifs.
Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for "longevity" or "harmony" as well as the name of the bakery and filling in the moon cake. Imprints of a moon (月亮), a woman on the moon(嫦娥), flowers(花), vines(藤), or a rabbit(玉兔) may surround the characters for additional decoration.
This crust has a reddish-brown tone and glossy sheen. It is the most common type of crust used on Cantonese-style mooncakes. It is also the most commonly sold in many western countries. Chewy mooncake crust is made using a combination of inverted sugar syrup, lye water, flour, and oil, thus giving this crust its rich taste and a chewy yet tender texture.
Nobody actually knows when the custom of eating moon cake of celebrate the Moon Festival began, but one relief traces its origin to the 14th century. At the time, China was in revolt against the Mongols. Chu Yuen-chang, and his senior deputy, Liu Po-wen, discussed battle plan and developes a secret moon cake strategy to take a certain walled city held by the Mongol enemy. Liu dressed up as a Taoist priest and entered the besieged city bearing moon cake. He distributed these to the city's populace. When the time for the year's Chung Chiu festival arrived, people opened their cakes and found hidden messages advising them to coordinate their uprising with the troops outside. Thus, the emperor-to-be ingeniously took the city and his throne. Moon cake of course, became even more famous. Whether this sweet Chinese version of ancient Europe's "Trojan Horse" story is true, no one really known.
First lady on the moon: It is generally conceded that Neil Armstrong , the American astronaut, was the first man on moon ( he made that historic landing in 1969). But that's not necessarily the truth to Chinese, who believe that the first people on the moon was a beautiful woman who lived during the Hsia dynasty (2205-1766BC). This somewhat complicated moon-landing story goes like this: A woman , Chang-O, was married to the great General Hou-Yi of the Imperial Guard. General Hou was a skilled archer. One day, at the behest of the emperor, he shot down eight of nine suns that had mysteriously appeared in the heaven that morning. His marksmanship was richly rewarded by the emperor and he became very famous. However, the people feared that these suns would appear again to torture them and dry up the planet, so they prayed to the Goddess of Heaven (Wang Mu) to make General Hou immortal so that he could always defend the emperor, his progeny and the country. Their wish was granted and General Hou was given a Pill of Immortality. More information about Moon Cake Festival
- Dissolve alkali with water in a bowl. Add in inverted sugar syrup and oil. Beat until thoroughly combined and emulsified. Sift in the half flour and mix to the consistency of smooth paste. Add in another half and use rubber spatula to mix the dough until it becomes as soft as your earlobe. Cover it with plastic film and set aside for at least four hours at room temperature.
- Divide dough and filling into 12 portions, each about 17 grams and 65 grams respectively. Flatten a portion of the dough in the palm of your hand and center the filling. Gently push the dough upward from all sides with two hands until all the filling are fully covered. Extend the dough with constant strength to so that the filling can be completely and evenly enclosed. Rub into a ball and coat thinly with flour. Dust the mold with flour and pour off the excess.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Stir the egg yolk and white in a bowl until combined. Set aside. Place the filled packet, seam side up, in the floured mold. Press firmly to obtain the clear imprint of the mold and push down the imprinted mooncake onto a baking tray. Lightly spray the surface of the mooncakes with water and bake for 5-7 minutes on the upper rack of the hot oven. Once the surface of the mooncakes started to appear light-coloured, remove and lower the oven temperature to 150C/300F. Brush the imprints atop the mooncakes with egg mixture and return them to the oven. Bake for 7 further minutes and take out again. Brush with egg mixture once more and return to bake for 5 more minutes until golden. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Store the mooncakes in an airtight container. Mooncakes are at their best 2-3 days after baking. The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if you want to give a thoughtful and homemade gift to your friends.